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The House I Live In (2012)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,423 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 17 user | 49 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself, narrator, interviewer (voice)
Nannie Jeter ...
Herself
Betty Chism ...
Herself
Dennis Whidbee ...
Himself
Elzie Hooks ...
Himself, inmate, Lexington Correctional Center
Robert Wilson ...
Himself
...
Himself, journalist
Michael Correa ...
Himself
Gabor Mate ...
Himself
Charles Bowden ...
Himself
Mark W. Bennet ...
Himself, judge, Northern District of Iowa
Maurice Haltiwanger ...
Himself
Jim K. McGough ...
Himself, Maurice Haltiwanger's defense attorney
Eric Franklin ...
Himself, warden, Lexington Correctional Center
Don Walker ...
Himself, inmate, Lexington Correctional Center
Edit

Storyline

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the past 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer, and destroyed impoverished communities at home and abroad. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

5 October 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amerikkalainen huumesota  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$16,453 (USA) (5 October 2012)

Gross:

$210,752 (USA) (8 February 2013)
 »

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User Reviews

 
The Slow-Motion Holocaust
11 November 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you've been a student of most public schools you've learned about slavery.

There's a lyric I remember that says "I hate it when they tell us how far we came to be - as if our peoples' history started with slavery." Well, the history of subjugating minorities has not ENDED with slavery either, and retrospective condemnation of racism serves the purpose to perpetuate the racism embedded and invested in our country today.

The most important mistake is to confuse failure with success in regards to the apparent shortcomings of our establishment. I again use the example of public schools because the recent documentary "Waiting for Superman" did a fantastic job in addressing the "failures" of schools to educate children. It takes a book like James Lowen's Lies My Teacher Told Me to recognize the grand success of our school's indoctrination process: to teach obedience, not intelligence. It takes a documentary like The House I Live In to vocalize the airtight success of our administration in conducting the 41 years' drug war.

Logic should compute. If more money has been spent (a trillion dollars since the '70s,) the prison population has skyrocketed (2.4 million people incarcerated) and no progress has been made in keeping drugs off the streets, (similarly with our schools, with reform after reform we continue to perform beneath the feet of most industrialized countries,) you have to start looking at things a little differently. It is hard to see the exit of the maze when walking within its walls. This documentary helps to see things from the outside.

This film brings to light a lot of revealing facts that have been swept under the rug, like how opium wasn't an issue until Chinese started climbing the success latter in San Francisco, or how the police in border states can directly siphon the money from drug busts to reward their outfit. Mostly, it encourages a comparison between the way minorities have been apprehended with drug abuse and the apprehension of whites (who hold equal if not higher drug abuse statistics but make up a minority of the prison population.) And it encourages comparison between past, mass scale subjugation (often with eventual extermination) and, to quote the film, the slow-motion holocaust happening in our own country.

It recognizes the drug epidemic as an economic issue and a medical issue, not a racial issue. It recognizes the drug WAR as the glaring rash of vibrant racism, and the brutal front of a class war in a society where profits come first, human beings second. More to this point, it eludes to the country's prime motivation, net gain and increased GDP, and the plethora of companies from Sprint Mobile to GM to privatized prisons such as CCA, all of whom depend on the drug war to maintain stock value.

To quote ousted investigative journalist and ex-LAPD narcotics officer Michael Ruppert, "A snake eating its own tail is not nutritious."

Though it is outside the periphery of the film's focus and beyond the pale even for a documentary of this substance, the issue of international drug trafficking, and facilitation it has received, at times, from both the financial sector and intelligence agency of our country, was never brought to light in this film. Despite whether this topic is to be written off as conspiracy theory or submitted for further analysis, a film that introduces our economy's dependence on drug dependence and the targeting of minorities in an everlasting drug war, has a duty to at least address the controversy. I suggest raising the question on discussion boards and at Q&As, as my screening was lucky enough to have.

We live in a country that is infested with racism, now as much as any other time. Our economy depends on it, and the drug war has fertilized it. It is time to end it.


24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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